Why is Adam Vinatieri Mr. Clutch?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by solman, Nov 15, 2007.

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  1. solman

    solman Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I must have read a dozen articles this week describing Adam Vinatieri as "the greatest clutch kicker in the history of the NFL" or something similar.

    How do you make such a determination?

    As nearly as I can tell this reputation comes from hitting kicks of:

    45 yards to force OT in the snow
    23 yards to win in the snow
    48 yards to win in a dome
    41 yards to win in a dome

    Its not that I don't appreciate his performance. But what are the odds of an NFL kicker going 4-0 on those kicks? If all Field Goals were 80% likely to be successful, we'd expect this to happen 41% of the time.

    Is there actually something special about Adam V. ?

    Or is he a good kicker who happened to have above average luck on the four kicks that mattered most in his career.
  2. oldrover

    oldrover 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #50 Jersey

    Who's hit bigger field goals, more often? Can you think of ANYONE?

    Didn't think so. :D
  3. apricissimus

    apricissimus On the Game Day Roster

    And how exactly would you determine that he just got lucky those four times? I don't think you can, and since sports is a results based meritocracy, I don't see any choice than to say Vinatieri deserved his reputation.

    I'd also say that the odds of hitting those snow bowl kicks against the Raiders is something far less than 80%.
  4. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    The important aspect missing from those listed...they were all in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Every one of them was a high-pressure kick. It's the moment that makes the man, and every one of those kicks were made on the grand stage. I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Vinatieri is the greatest clutch kicker in the History on of the NFL. But for the sake of argument - who, other than Adam, could also wear that moniker?

    Oh, and I would also add his 46 yard kick versus Tennessee in the 2003 Divisional Playoffs to that list.
  5. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    It was more than that. There was also a series of overtime game-winners those years where the Pats were winning LOTS of close games (sometimes after he had an earlier miss).

    And a cold, late postseason kick against the Titans (after he blew one earlier in the game).

    I agree that his reputation was exaggerated, but the case isn't as extreme as you were suggesting.
  6. solman

    solman Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I read a NYT article a few weeks ago that claimed that Adam was 20 out of 25 on all potential game winning or overtime sending kicks. (or something like that)

    He's not actually any better in random clutch situations than he is in non-clutch situations. (After last week, he's actually worse in the clutch).

    But the four most important clutch situations in his career all turned out well.

    Had even one of those four been unsuccessful, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    What I wonder is whether the four successful kicks are a consequence of random chance, or if Adam V. has some special quality that makes him far more likely to hit those kicks than other good kickers.

    I don't think its preposterous to suggest that Adam has such a quality. Certainly Mike V. has a special quality that makes him LESS likely to hit clutch kicks than other good kickers.

    But I don't know how we can reach such a conclusion based on his body of work.
  7. apricissimus

    apricissimus On the Game Day Roster

    Again, how the heck would you ever determine that he was just lucky when it counted most? I think this line of thinking is silly.
  8. apricissimus

    apricissimus On the Game Day Roster

    What does it mean to be lucky as a kicker anyway? Is kicking a field goal not purely a matter of skill? I'm not clear where luck enters into it.
  9. Pats Fan in Indy

    Pats Fan in Indy Practice Squad Player

    He NEVER missed one when it counted... up until last Sunday. Can you think of a single field goal that he has missed throughout his entire career that cost his team the game?
  10. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Well he did. I believe it was in the 90's 1998 I think.
    He missed a kick against KC. Cost us the game and the playoffs I think.
  11. stcjones

    stcjones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    I think the KEY word is PRESSURE........that kick to win against Oakland in the snow, with about a 30 mph wind (maybe higher).... is the GREATEST FG of all time........all the others were just downright balls tightening up the size of raisins stuff....and SO MANY other kickers would have missed them......look at the bills kicker the one year in SB....etc.......

    Trust me he WAS (is?) clutch........however, he seems to have lost his focus somewhere......might have something to do with leaving an area and fan base where he was a god.......where he would have been remembered as a legendary Boston sports hero....where he had endorsment deals coming out of his *****.....and where he could have been guaranteed...a sweet retirement deal with NE......You know he would have been "working" in this organization for the rest of his life most likely......and he threw it all away to go to one of our most hated rivals....throw away his ENTIRE legacy here in NE........for literally a few dollars more...(Minus the endorsement deals.....I hear from a friend of mine that it's all about Pay-a-ton in Indy.....no one gives a crap about vinny over there....because his HISTORY is here in NE......)

    Anyways...Vinatraitor was a great kicker for us........helped us win some championships....and for that I am grateful....after that....as Tony Soprano would say "He is dead to me".
  12. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

    I agree. Best part is PATs went on to do very well with out him.
    His loss to FA has not really hurt the PATs.
    I wonder if he regrets having made that decision.
  13. CTPatsFan

    CTPatsFan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    #75 Jersey

    Not is. WAS.
  14. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    That's good enough for me. A clutch guy isn't a guy who miraculously turns perfect in pressure situations, just one who isn't fazed by them. A good-or-go-home kick in a blizzard would faze plenty of kickers.

    That said, you have to have a good leg as well as a cool head, and it doesn't seem that the 35-year-old version of Adam qualifies.
  15. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    In Pete Carroll's last year, when the Pats went 8-8, I believe he missed 2 game winning FGs, one against KC and one against Buffalo. They cost the Pats the playoffs and Carroll his job. He's also missed a number of FGs in big games, including in Super Bowls.

    However, those kicks against Tennessee, Oakland, and SB36 ad SB38 are special, and were far from gimmes. Ask Scott Norwood (whose kick was also not a gimme).
  16. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    The game tying kick in the Snow Bowl is undeniable. The others ? Good kicker and great opportunity. There's a lot of kickers who who make a mid 40s kick in a dome to win the game; and some who wouldn't. Vinatieri is a good clutch kicker who has had great opportunities - and, as noted, has missed some too. Also the fact that these were win or tie kicks, not win or lose kicks (in the SB) isn't insignificant.
  17. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I think you answer your own question by citing those four kicks, but you're probably trying to be provocative, which isn't bad. I would argue that the "odds" of making a kick when a championship is on the line or when the weather is adverse or when both of those conditions apply are very different than making a kick during a regular season game, even if the game is on the line. I'm sure that someone has the stats to do this analysis over the last 25 years or so.

    As for AV, many observers have called the 45 yarder in the snow (first kick) the greatest kick ever. I would put the SB XXXVI kick right up there as well.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2007
  18. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    It's not about how he performs in random clutch situations vs. the performance of kickers in all situations though. It's comparing him to others who have faced similar opportunities and performed consistently in those over time.

    HOF'er Jan Stenarude I believe still holds the record for late game winners, but he compiled it over many more seasons. Adam already had just a couple of less over about half the career span before he left here. And he did it while kicking in what was long felt to be one of the worst kicking environments wind and weather wise in the league in old Foxboro Stadium and in the AFCE.

    He also now leads all kickers in post season kicks made, is second in # of game winning kicks ever made, and top 5 in career accuracy for kickers with over 100 attempts. Others can be equally clutch in limited short term opportunities. The key with Adam is consistency over time, and that speaks to a level of mental toughness that seperates the randomly lucky from the consistently "different". Sports psychologists have studied him and determined he has an inherent capacity to slow down the situation that surrounds him much like his former QB does. Doesn't mean either wouldn't ever fail in pressure situations, just that they are far more consistently likely not to than is average.

    Unfortunately for all the statistical advantages he should gain kicking for a dome team, the drawback could be the mentality of that team vs. the one he left and how that impacts him. Last year after being injured early he basically kicked them into the AFCC. From whence they were able to win a ring. This year he's been a little less consistent. And he's going to have to work through that on a team that seems more inclined to point fingers however subtley publicly and likely privately as well rather than being privately accountable while publicly maintaining each others backs. Here he had a tremendous support system who had such a strong belief in him as not just a kicker but a football player and playmaker (not to mention themselves as an organization). Now he's working with an organization with a very different mind set, a subtle inclination to panic under stress, some ego and temperement issues that can flash on and off the field with Manning and Polian, as well as a hugger coach who is third in the chain of command whose efforts to mitigate any appearance of discomfort with the kicker will (comparatively speaking) end up sounding more like damning him with faint praise. Whenever Adam's performance ilicited questions in the past, BB's succinct response was he's money and there is NO OTHER kicker I would rather have when a game is on the line. Bill never publicly acknowledges individual struggles anyway. Just won't go there. Kinda like you don't dignify a rumor by discussing it. If he felt compelled to comment at all he would likely point out all the other blown opportunities in that game like 6 picks and 2 kick returns for scores, and failure to execute a two point conversion not to mention poor coaching, questionable roster management, and situational confusion and clock mismanagement on the part of the HC.

    Totally different management style to Indy where they tend to share feelings that perhaps are better privately held and managed in house. Unfortunately they do that to spin and deflect any potential criticism away from Manning and Polian, even if it means St. Dungy falling on the same sword some of his 52 other players are getting skewered with.

    It will be interesting to watch this dynamic play out over the next several months into next season. Adam is likely to find himself in a situation he's never faced before where he's second on the list of excuses for failure behind injuries. And that may well effect his mental edge going forward. He never had the QB here wave him off the field, or a HC who wasn't fully prepared to execute situational football without concensus, let alone before a miss.

    I also wonder if the asterisk talk has gotten to him, particularly since he's not part of the group responding to that on the field. And locker rooms being what they are, he's likely heard some maddening comments in his own locker room and certainly is aware of the Dungy commentary. That for him is tantamount to people he now works for and with putting an asterisk next to what was widely held to be the career of the second PK inducted into the HOF.
  19. scout

    scout Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #15 Jersey

    He missed when the Super Bowl was played in Houston, forgot if it was one or two, but ended up making it when it counted which is the gist of the conversation. I remember living in Dallas and the Cowboys were trying out kickers. In the tryouts all of the kickers made their kicks, none missed. One was said to have been more accurate then the others (an old vet) and got the job. Now, put every kicker in the position for everything they have worked for their entire career, one kick. Sounds easy, but one of the greatest percentage kickers in history flopped at it (the drunken arse). Don't take anything away from AV because he plays for a second tier team.
  20. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #95 Jersey

    Well put. Ask Scott Norwood if one kick can make or break your reputation........
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